Pirates coach Riveiro to focus on Premier Soccer League
Bucs start pursuing log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns after crashing out of the Champions League and Carling Knockout
Out of the Champions League and Carling Knockout, Orlando Pirates coach José Riveiro has turned his attention to the Premier Soccer League in pursuit of runaway log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.
The Buccaneers beat Sekhukhune United 1-0 at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday with a goal from Thabiso Monyane to move out of the relegation zone to ninth spot with 12 points from nine matches.
Pirates will focus on the bread-and-butter business of the league without cup disruptions over the coming weeks until the start of the Nedbank Cup next year.
Their league programme starts with the Soweto derby against Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Saturday, where they will be looking to build on their winning momentum.
“Now we have the opportunity to put all our energies in the league and start to write our history and story,” he said after Pirates beat struggling Sekhukhune for their first league win in five matches.
“I am not happy to be out of the Champions League or Carling Knockout, but once you are not there it is an opportunity to focus on the league.
“I have said it many times before that the league is the most important competition for every team.
“Maybe somebody will feel the Champions League is the most important, but, for me, the 30 games in your domestic competition are the most important.”
Riveiro said they started the campaign with a strange schedule but he is not using that as an excuse for their inconsistency.
“Our schedule was strange. In the league we played four games and then we disappeared to play in three other competitions.
“We had a good run in the MTN8, but we didn’t succeed in the Champions League and the Carling Knockout.
“We were not participating in the league with the frequency you need. It is not an excuse, the schedule is the way it is and we accepted it from the beginning.
“It is difficult to prepare yourself, especially mentally, when today you play for three points, tomorrow you play for a final and after tomorrow you are playing for a quarterfinal in a different competition.
“It is one of the things we need to do better because eventually, Pirates will always be there in the mixture of competitions where participating is not enough, but you have to succeed by reaching the last stages.”
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